Airbus Creates Electric Airplane Race

Aerospace giant partners with Air Race E to create a one-of-a-kind series.

airbus electric racer
Airbus is the launch partner on a new electric airplane race series.Airbus

In a move aimed at expanding the limitations of electric flight, aerospace giant Airbus has announced a partnership with Air Race E, the world’s first electric airplane race set to launch its inaugural series in 2020.

Airbus is the official founding partner of Air Race E, a competition that “aims to drive the development and adoption of cleaner, faster and more technologically advanced electric engines that can be applied to urban air mobility vehicles and, eventually, commercial aircraft,” organizers say.

Air Race E will follow a format similar to the Air Race 1 series of formula one air racing. Eight electric-powered airplanes will race against each other on a tight 5-km circuit, flying just 10 meters above the ground “and at speeds faster than any land-based motorsport.”

“We want to motivate manufacturers to showcase their technologies across the full spectrum of electric propulsion systems and components,” said Grazia Vittadini, chief technology officer for Airbus. “This partnership enables us to demonstrate our commitment to staying at the leading edge of electric propulsion and developing a new ecosystem.”

Air Race E CEO Jeff Zaltman said: “We couldn’t be happier or more optimistic for success with Airbus as our Official Founding Partner. This partnership is a significant milestone in the evolution of electric power in aviation. Together, we’re working to create a mainstream platform in which innovation in electric propulsion can be developed, nurtured and accelerated more rapidly.”

Airbus is working with Air Race E partner the University of Nottingham, which is currently developing a prototype race airplane powered by an integrated electric motor, battery and power electronics system. The plane will help shape the model and rules for the inaugural Air Race E race in 2020.

For more information about Air Race E visit airracee.com.